Realestate.com.au has taken another step in its aggressive global acquisition program with the purchase of a controlling interest in Dubai property magazine and website publisher Albabworld.
The company paid Swiss Media $1.2 million for a 51% stake in Albabworld and plans to invest $2.5 million into the business.
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Realestate.com.au chief executive Simon Baker says the move gives the company a window into the fast growing economies of Dubai and neighbouring emirates such as Abu Dhabi.
“From a real estate perspective, it is an incredibly fast growing environment, a lot of development and huge amounts of money are being spent in Dubai and surrounding areas, and as the stuff gets completed there are established homes coming into the market,” Baker says. “And when you see who is investing there, there are a lot of overseas investors, so it makes sense to use our network to take Dubai to the world.”
Baker believes the online property market in Dubai is still a baby in growth terms and is currently at a stage Australia was at five years ago.
And there are likely to be plenty more global acquisitions in the pipeline for Realestate.com.au, Baker says, with the company currently looking at 10 to 15 possible purchases around the world.
After surviving a near-death experience shortly after its establishment, Realestate.com.au has gone on to become a global property publisher with a presence in 10 countries around the world and 2007 revenue in excess of $100 million.
But, Baker says, there are no plans to shift Realestate.com.au’s headquarters from Melbourne.
“Now only about 40% of our staff are in Melbourne, so from an employee perspective we aren’t really Melbourne-based anymore, but you have to have your head office somewhere and at the moment we see no point in moving – besides, we all love to travel.”